By Richard Panek | March 26, 2012 | 8 Comments
Time again to reach into the “Ask Mr. Cosmology” mailbag and see what readers want to know about…The Wonders of the Universe!
Q: Can neutrinos travel faster than light?
Mr. Cosmology: Depends what you mean by “light.” Light, as in light rail? Yes. Light, as in electromagnetic radiation? Almost certainly not. Light, as in light beer? Definitely not; that stuff will zip right through you.
Q: You’ve met a lot of cosmologists. What are they like?
Mr. Cosmology: They sit around in their underwear all day, they’re drunk by 3 in the afternoon, and their idea of a good time is chasing squirrels off the garage roof with a baseball bat.
Mr. Cosmology: Oh, wait. Sorry—Mr. Cosmology was thinking of the next-door neighbor when he was growing up.
Q: I’m sensing an alcohol theme to this round of “Ask Mr. Cosmology.” Is booze an important part of the study of the universe?
Mr. Cosmology: Yes! It provides the only known method for testing the fundamental principle behind uncertainty theory—that you can’t simultaneously measure your position and velocity.
Q: You know the saying, “To every thing there is a season”? What is the universe’s season?
Mr. Cosmology: Spring. Because of the wormholes.
Q: I’m a cosmologist with a growing box of correspondence from crackpot theorists. Any suggestions for a label on that box?
Mr. Cosmology: “If I only had a brane.”
Q: I’ve noticed that Mr. Cosmology can be somewhat caustic.
Mr. Cosmology: Only because it’s that time of month.
Q: What!? Mr. Cosmology is a Ms.?!
Mr. Cosmology: Let’s just say that Mr. Cosmology is sometimes confused. For instance, how can a question from the “Ask Mr. Cosmology” mailbag refer to an answer to a question from the same mailbag?
Q: Maybe it’s those faster-than-light neutrinos. Or a wormhole.
Mr. Cosmology: Maybe. But Mr. Cosmology is pretty sure it’s the light beer.